The Latest Breitbart Video: A Stupid Fight to Pick?
Just before he died, Andrew Breitbart intimated that he had some really damning videos he was going to release which would be a big problem for Obama. He promised it would be part of a proper vetting of the president, which wasn't done in 2008.
We now know at least some of what he was talking about. It was a video from 1990 of Obama, then head of the Law Review, embracing and fully endorsing the controversial Harvard professor, Derrick Bell. Derrick Bell was a radical legal scholar who created the concept of "critical race theory," which put forward the notion that our legal system was inherently racist and that it was impossible for black people to get justice in the US system. Bell wrote all sorts of wacky articles critical of white America and also wrote a silly sci-fi allegory about the civil rights movement called "The Slave Traders," which basically accuses white America of profiting off of black America, abetted by the Jews – whom Bell characterizes as being two-faced connivers. Bell was also an outspoken supporter of Louis Farrakhan.
Now Obama may have been a supporter of Bell's craziness when he was at Harvard. I personally don't have any problem believing he was. He may still hold many crazy beliefs he picked up from Bell. The problem is that the video produced as "proof" of that fact is extremely thin gruel upon which to base that scandalous meal Breitbart, and now his successors, want to serve. I suspect that to the average person this accusation simply looks like a bunch of zealots straining really, really, really hard to take a fairly innocuous video and extrapolate out conclusions several degrees removed from the evidence, using the issue of race to discredit the president. It's seems pretty easy to paint this charge as a far-fetched, unsupported, and transparent attempt at dog-whistle politics which is intended to appeal to racist elements of the right and parts of the working-class democratic base.
To me this doesn't seem to have much more evidence to support it than does the birther kookiness. Frankly, I think that without a smoking gun, these guilt by association arguments that much of the right has obsessed over since 2008 are just straight losers for conservatives. All they do is generate conspiratorial arguments that are difficult to prove and which feed the meme that we're all a bunch of racists.
I know a lot of people think this video and the connection the Breitbart crew are trying to make between Obama and Bell's crazy ideas prove that Obama is in fact the racist. But it just doesn't play that way to normal people. And without hard, explicit evidence of Obama directly espousing racist rhetoric and ideas, this comes off as nothing but a feeble and ugly reach.
Are we more interested in theatrics and over-the-top accusations, or are we interested in reassuring normal people that we're also normal and not the reactionary witch-hunters we are so often caricatured as?